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Rice-straw sweaters

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12:24pm, September 26, 2006

From San Francisco, at a meeting of the American Chemical Society

Fibers from rice stems left in fields after the grain's harvest could wind up in fabrics adorning furniture, car interiors, and people. That's the prediction of textile scientists who have for the first time extracted from rice straw natural cellulose fibers that can be spun into yarn.

Worldwide, about 560 million tons of straw is left behind in rice fields annually, representing a large, untapped resource of cellulose fibers, says Yiqi Yang of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Cotton and linen fabrics contain cellulose fibers from cotton and flax plants.

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